(11:26) “Re’aye-See” In the opening verse of this week's parsha, Moshe speaks to the Jewish people and says, "See (Re’aye), I have set before you today a blessing and a curse."
The word “Re'aye” is in the singular while the word “Lifneichem” is in the plural? This teaches us that the world hangs on the actions of each individual.
However the word "Re'aye" seems out of place here. Moshe is not showing anything to the people; he is merely informing them about the consequences of their actions! Why does the Torah present this information in terms of "seeing," when it would have made more sense to use the idea of "hearing"?
The Gemarrah teaches, "Who is wise? One who sees the future" (Tamid 32a). It is interesting that the Gemarrah does not attribute wisdom to one who knows the future. Instead, the word "see" is used. This teaches us an important lesson. A person who knows what will happen may not change his behavior - but a person, who vividly sees, with his mind's eye, the potential outcome of his actions, may choose to act differently. This is why Moshe uses the word "Re'aye" in addressing the Jewish people. Moshe does not want the people simply to listen to his words - he wants them to vividly imagine the results of obeying or disobeying them.
The word Re'aye, see, is written in Lashon Yachid, the singular form, while the word lifneichem, before you, is written in Lashon Rabim, the plural form. Why? Horav Aharon Kotler, zl, explains that while the Torah is speaking to the Rabim, wider community, at times the Yachid, individual, must make a critical decision to act counter to the Rabim. Hashem wants each individual to look at the Mitzvah, the endeavor, the situation, with a critical eye and act in accordance with that which the Torah dictates even if the community does not agree.
Indeed, sometimes the individual must stand up against the Community. A community is comprised of individuals. Thus, each member of the community has his own moral and spiritual imperative to do the right thing, even if it is not a popular or accepted decision. Some individuals are afraid to make waves, to rock the boat, to do his own thing. To him the Torah says: "Re'aye," in the singular, you, individual see, on your own, without the effects of communal pressure. Nothing is wrong with being in the minority, when one is right. The Jewish nation has had this experience throughout the millennium. Avraham Avinu stood up against a world of idol worshipers. Our Torah leadership, throughout the generations, has followed suit, doing what is necessary to uphold the faith against tremendous pressure and overwhelming odds.
(12:20) “Ki Yarchiv Hashem es Gevulcha-When Hashem will expand your boundaries”
This verse goes on to describe our desire for meat and other pleasures. This verse corresponds to the year 5252 or 1492 the year Columbus discovered America, the place with vast pastures for cattle, meat and the pursuit of all types of pleasures. (Maaseh Rokeach)
(12:23) “Rak Chazak L’vilty Achol H’Dam-Only be strong not to eat the blood.” Eating blood is not something a person is natural drawn towards. Why would the Torah have to say "Be strong"? In ancient times the Evil Inclination would tempt man strongly to eat blood. They would eat a bloody feast in order to attract demons and learn the future from them. Therefore the Torah says “Be strong not to eat blood.” (Oznayim L’Torah)
(12:25) “Lo Sochlenu Lemaan Yitav Lecha U’Livanecha Acharecha-It should not be eaten in order for it to be good for you and your children after you.” What is meant by saying “your children after you”? Eating blood causes cruel tendencies which are then transferred to the children born to you. (Kli Yakar-Iben Ezra)
(12:28) “Shmor Ve'shomatoh es Kol Hadivarim Haeyleh-Observe and Listen to all of these words”. Moshe say's to Benei Yisroel that they should “Observe and Listen” to all of these things. It sounds like Naseh Venishma, first they should observe then listen? Rashi says that it means they should guard the mitzvos in order that they should not forget them. The Ohr Hachaim says that it means Shmor (guard) the mitzvos Dioraysah, Ve'shomatoh (Listen) to the mitzvos D'rabonon. We must do the mitzvos of the Torah and whatever mitzvos the Rabonon enact afterwards as safeguards we must also do. This is why the words “es Kol Hadivarim Haeyleh” are mentioned here. Whatever they see fit to add as a Geder (a boundary) to keep people from doing Avaros, we must also follow. The Oznayim L'Torah writes that people resist preforming the commandments unless they totally understand the reasons behind them.. Here we are told that it works just the opposite way. If you guard the mitzvos Hashem will grant you the understanding of them.
The Zohar has an even deeper explanation of this. He explains that we all receive a form of Ruach Hakodesh from Hashem in some form or another. As we say in Shemoneh Esrei that Hashem gives us Daas every day. In Yiddish an idea is called an Einfal literally a drop in, sent down from heaven. The problem is that we must become a proper vessel to receive this divine inspiration. If a person does an Averah it acts as a filter making this inspiration harder to reach us. This is what the posuk means. Shmor-First we must do the mitzvos and sanctify our bodies, then we will be eligible for Ve'shomatoh, the Ruach Hakodesh from Hashem.
(12:31) “Ki Gam es B’neichem V’es Binosayhem Yisrefu B’aish- For in addition their sons an daughters are burned in fire. This could be the source for the Palestinians use of children as human shields.
(13:2-6) “Ki Yokum B’kirbecha Navi..V’Hanavi Hahu..Yumos-If there should arise in your midst a false prophet..and that prophet..shall be put to death.” Everything can be found in the Torah. This posuk which speaks of a future false prophet arising contains the words “B’kirbecha Navi” which have the numerical value of 387, the same numerical value as the words “Zu Ha’isha U'benah This is the woman and her son.” referring to the mother who brought to the world the son who became the founder of Christianity. (Baal Haturim)
(13:18) “V’Noson L’cha Rachamim-Hashm will give you mercy.” In the command to eradicate idol worshippers from Eretz Yisroel Hashem says he will give us mercy. The usual way of expressing this would be that Hashem has mercy for someone. But here it says He will grant mercy? What this means is that in doing an act that could make a person desensitized to killings, Hashem is going to grant mercy. In other words Hashem will not allow the slaughter of these idol worshippers to effect those performing this mitzvah. You will still be merciful .
(14:13) “V’Horaah V’es Hoayoh V’Hadaya- V’Horaah V’es Hoayoh V’Hadaya” Rashi say that these birds are really all the same bird with different names. This bird is named for the fact that it could see great distances. If it were standing in Iraq it could see a carcass in Eretz Yisroel. Why did Hashem give such keen vision to an impure bird? The Maskil L’dovid quotes the Arizal saying that if a man gazes at a woman forbidden to him he does harm to that aspect of Heaven which is adjacent to the eye of man. His punishment is that his soul returns to this world in the form of this bird. The Raah. It is fitting punishment for the man gazed at women without doing anything but enjoyed just looking. So to the Raah, in which his soul returned, sees a carcass, something appetizing, but it is not close by, it is far away in another country. By the time it flies there some other animal has consumed it. Then it asks where (Ayah) is it? It remains hungry and will have to be satisfied (Dayah) with just having seen it.
(14:23) “B'mokom asher Yivchar.-In the place I shall choose.” Throughout the Torah the name of Yerushalaim is not mentioned but always alluded to by saying “The place that Hashem will choose to rest his name.” The Ohr Hachaim say's that this is meant to forestall any future complaints by Benei Yisroel as to why Hashem would choose one tribe over another to make as his dwelling place. What it says is that whatever place Hashem chooses is the place and we can make no objections. This could explain why the Torah mentions this phrase exactly 12 times corresponding to the twelve tribes.
But perhaps we can add another explanation. Hashem said “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shochanti B’Sochom-Build for me a sanctuary and I will dwell in you.” Originally Hahsem wanted us to make a place for Him in our hearts. This was the first choice and had we been worthy it would have come to fruition. This is why there is no mention of the place where Hashem will choose to rest His name. He was waiting for us to become the proper vessel to receive His presence. This could be why the numerical value of the words “B'mokom asher Yivchar Hashem L’shaken S’moh- The place that shall choose to rest my name.” is equal to the phrase Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shochanti B’Sochom-Build for me a sanctuary and I will dwell in you.
(14:24) “Ki Yirbeh Mimchah Haderech-If the road will be too long for you...Ki Yirchak Mimchah Hamokom-Because the place is too far from you.” It seems as the posuk is repeating itself? The Alshich explains if one perceives that the road to do Hashem’s mitzvos is very long, “Ki Yirbeh Mimchah Haderech” the problem is “Ki Yirchak Mimchah Hamokom.” There is too much distance between you and Hamokem-Hashem.
The parsha also lists the animals that are kosher for slaughter, those that have the correct signs. Recently scientists have claimed that the ritual slaughtering of animals was inhumane. They claimed that there is a nerve in the spine of animals that does not become severed when the proper shechita is performed. This was investigated and found to be true. Only those animals that did not chew their cud or have split hooves were found to have this nerve in the spine. Every animal that has split hooves and chews their cud is missing this nerve.
(15:8) “Posoach Tiftach-You Shall open your hand.” The double expression is to teach us that you must not only give with your hand (money) but with your mouth (Chizuk)
(15:8) “V’Havet Tavitena-And Grant you shall Grant.” Rashi says that if he won’t accept money as a gift, you should provide him with a loan. The Ohr HaChaim explains this to mean that when you open your hands for the poor all you are doing is giving him a loan seeing that Hashem will repay you with interest.
(15:8) “Dei Machsiro Asher Yechsar Lo-You shall grant him enough for his lack which is lacking for him.” Rashi says this means we are to provide him with a wife. This is learned from the word “Lo” which also appears in the first Shidduch of the Torah. When Hashem decided to create the first woman the Torah writes (Bereishis 2:18) “Eseh LO Eizer Kinegdo-I will make for him a helpmate opposite him.”
(16:1) "Chodesh Aviv" The word "Aviv" comes from the words AV Yud Beis The father of the 12 months. The first of the months. Nissan